[nafex] more on pruning
alandhaigh at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 12:35:56 EDT 2012
If you want a compact tree, using smaller diametered branches during
training promotes early fruiting and fruiting is dwarfing- so both
procedures are dwarfing and create earlier fruiting for reasons further
explained in my article. You can create a low tree with large diametered
branches but they will tend to take longer to fruit- depending on species
and cultivar, but it is a general rule. Because heading back delays
fruiting, large diameter branches will tend to end up further out before
beginning to fruit no matter how you prune them. This is also explained in
> I read your recent message with interest, since I am always trying to
> understand pruning!! Is there a reason that on central leader trees, one
> needs to remove branches that get too large a diameter? I wonder if they
> would actually in some cases be a benefit by keeping the overall height of
> the tree lower, if they are trying to "take over" the tree?
Obviously a central leader blocks some light from the lower part of the
tree- the first tier will always get more light if it is the only tier. A
well managed central leader has branches half the length and diameter of
branches on the tier below, or as close to this as practical. This assures
lower branches get adequate light and maintain dominance.
> I also had heard that a central leader tree actually allows more light to
> the wider lower portion since the top is skinny and the bottom wide,
> whereas an open center tree has the widest part at the top. But I don't
> know--I may be misinformed or have misunderstood. I do know I'd like to
> keep as much fruiting wood as possible within reach of the ground or a low
> ladder. Do you have a recommendation for which type would work better for
> that? I have primarily apples, but also peaches, apricots, plums of both
> Japanese and European types, and cherries on G5 and G6.
Summer pruning encourages early fruiting and is dwarfing. There is an
excellent article by my favorite pruning guru, Bas Van Ende, in this months
Good Fruit Magazine that touches on this. He considers summer pruning a
prerequisite for close planting of trees (as does Dave Wilson Nursery in
their 4 trees to a hole scheme).
I"m curious too what others think about summer pruning. I believe there
was an excellent explanation of how/when to do that on NAFEX a year or 2
ago. If people would like to add their experiences with summer pruning
here, that would be great!"
Michael Phillips is talking about thinning apples to prevent biennial
bearing. This is just standard commercial apple production knowledge.
Thinning late does not discourage annual bearing compared to not thinning
at all. I like to thin flowers, removing all the flowers of at least every
other spur for varieties that tend towards biennial. It seems to be more
reliable than thinning fruit. Hate using Sevin in my program, which seems
to almost guarantee a mite outbreak for me. It is part of what commercial
growers use to thin their apples efficiently.
"On a new subject, I recently read in Michael Phillips new book The Holistic
Orchard, that as far as thinning fruit, it needs to be done within I think
he said about a month of when the fruit is visible, or else it can cause
the tree not to bear the following year. I had not before heard a specific
time as to when that needed to be done by. Most stuff I've read just
mentions that thinning helps size the existing fruit."
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